Action soon on Avant Garde: PM

Published : 9:00 am  October 22, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Yohan Perera and Kelum Bandara
There was no move by the Attorney General or anyone else to sweep the Avant Garde case under the carpet, but facts were being looked at to file legal action against the company under the Money Laundering Act, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe informed Parliament yesterday.DM_20151022_A001-2

Premier Wickremesinghe, who was responding to a question raised by Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake in the House, said the Attorney General had never advised to stop the investigations at any time, but had advised to see whether there was any provision to file a case under the Money Laundering Act. He said the Attorney General’s opinion was sought as the Solicitor General and his deputy held different views on it.

“The Attorney General was given the opportunity of giving an opinion because of the given situation,” he said.

The Premier said this in response to a statement made by Mr. Dissanayake that the Deputy Solicitor General had informed the President that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa can be arrested and whether to go ahead with it. The Prime Minister also said there was no evidence to suggest that the then Sri Lankan Ambassador in Nigeria had signed an agreement with a Nigerian company as alleged, while there was no documentary evidence that permission was given to the floating armoury to station at the Galle port. He said the Sri Lankan security forces had not given orders to issue any arms from the Avant Garde armoury. He said a decision would be made by the government on the armoury, once all investigations were over.


A select committee should look into Avant Garde case — Anura Kumara

By Yohan Perera and Kelum Bandara
Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake, yesterday, called for the setting up of a select committee to look into the controversial Avant Garde issue. Mr Dissanayake also called for a debate on the issue, asserting that one should not sweep the case under the carpet as it was the biggest fraudulent arms deal in the history of the country.

He alleged that there had been an attempt to cover up the case.

He said that even Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera had suggested that action should not be taken against the suspects under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. He also asked why the former defence secretary had not been arrested. He pointed out that the Solicitor General had informed the authorities that there was provision for arresting him.

He said a debate on the issue was important as what was disclosed would help to conduct a proper investigation.